Sie sind auf Seite 1von 114

•BOUGHT WITH THE INCOME

FROM THE

SAGE ENDOWMENT FUND

THE GIFT OF

HeniTQ m. Sage

1S91

9734

'"'"'"

PB 1645.P24 "1908""""

Gaelic fairy taies.

3 1924 026 841 985

The original of this book is in

the Cornell University Library. There are no known copyright restrictions in the United States on the use of the text.

http://www.archive.org/cletails/cu31924026841985

NA DAOINE SIDHE. GAELIC FAIRY TALES.

Na Daoine Sidhe

is Uirsgeulan eile

Na .dealbhan o laifnh QhatAona Qhamaroin, R.S.fF'.y

ts

Raoghnailt Ainslie Ghrannd Dubh

GLASCHU

GILLEASBUIG MAC-NA-CEARDADH,

47 SRAID WATERLOO.

1908.

GAELIC

Fairy Tales

Illustrated by Katharine Cameron^ R.S.W.f

and

Rachel Ainslie Grant "Duff

GLASGOW

ARCHIBALD SINCLAIR, Celtic Press,

47 WATERLOO STREET.

1908.

PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION.

This litde book is printed and published in aid

of the Comunn Gaidhealach through the kindness

of Mr. Nelson, as his contribution to the Feill.

The version of the Good Housewife here given

is reprinted from Craignish Tales ("Waifs and

Strays of Celtic Tradition," Vol. I.), by kind

per-

mission of Lord Archibald Campbell and Mr.

David Nutt.

The object in view in translating the other two tales has been to give as far as possible a literal rendering of the Gaelic, in some cases, it may be,

at the expense of the English.

"Would that it

were possible to give some idea of the beautiful

alliteration and imitative vowel

original

sounds of the

I am greatly indebted to Dr. Henderson for

his very kind and ready help.

My thanks are

also due to Mr. J. G. Mackay, London, and to

Mrs. Joseph Maclean, Barra, and to Mrs. W. J.

Watson, who has very kindly read through the

proofs.

Winifred M. Parker.

PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION.

When tlie first edition of this little book was pub-

lished, I was unaware of the name of the narrator of the version here given of the traditional tale,

" The Eagle of Loch Treig."

Mr. Henry Whyte

has since kindly told me that it originally appeared

in "The Gael," vol. i., p. 285, and was written by

the late D. C. Macpherson ("Abrach").

I had thought "The Spirit of Eld" such a

classic

that it would

be unnecessary to

remind

readers that it came from the pen of the elder

Norman Macleod, ("Caraid nan Gaidheal"), but

as I have received several condemnations (sic) of

the Gaelic it contains, it is perhaps only kind thus

to disarm future critics!

Winifred M. Parker.

CLAR-INNSIDH.

  • I. Spiorad NA H-AOISE,

....

....

....

II. lOLAIRE LoCH-Tr^IG, A Bhean Tighe Mhath 's Obair-Oidhche, ....

III.

....

....

....

g

34

40

CONTENTS.

I. The Spirit of Eld,

....

II. The Eagle of Loch Treig,

....

....

....

....

9

34

ill. The Good Housewife and her Night La-

bours,

....

...

....

....

40

NA DAOINE SIDHE

IS UIRSGEULAN EILE.

I.

SPIORAD NA H-AOISE.

Bha ann roimhe so, air chul Beinne-nan-

Sian, aireach ghabhar

d' am b' ainm Gorla-

nan-treud, aig an robh triuir mhac agus aon

nighean.

Bha buachailleachd nam meann

an earbsa ri ailleagan an fhuilt oir.

Latha

do na laithean, 'nuair bha i mach ri uchd

na beinne

a' buachailleachd

nam meann,

co geal ri sneachda na h-aon oidhche, agus air

theirinn

badan

do

cheo

druidheachd

dha iathadh mu ghuala na beinne, chuairtich

e an t-ailleagan aonarach, 's cha 'n fhacar i

ni 's mo.

An ceann latha agus bliadhna 'na dheidh

GAELIC FAIRY TALES.

I.

THE SPIRIT OF ELD.

Once upon a time there lived at the back of

Beinne-nan-Sian * a goatherd of the name of

Gorla of the Flocks, who had three sons and

one daughter.

The herding of the kids was

entrusted to the little Jewel of the Golden

Hair.

On a day of days, when she was out

on the breast of the hill herding the kids, there came down a tuft of magic mist as

white as the snow of one night ; and after it

had turned the shoulder of the hill, it sur- rounded the lonely little Jewel, and she was

no more seen. At the end of a day and a year after that,

Ardan,f the eldest son of the herd, said,-^

* The Ben of Storms.

t Ardan means pride or arrogance.

10

SPIORAD NA H-AOISE.

sin, thuirt Ardan, mac mor an aireich,

" A

bhliadhna

gus

an

diugh

dh' fhalbh

mo

phiuthar, ailleagan

an

fhuilt

oir,

agus

is

boid

is briathra

dhomhsa nach dean mi

Fois

no

tamh

a latha

no

dh' oidhche gus

an

lorgaich mi

mach i, 's bidh mi air

chomh-diol rithe fein."

" A mhic," ars' 'athair, " ma bhoidich thu

sin cha bhac mise thu ; ach bhuineadh dhuit,

mun deachaidh am foqal a d' bheul, cead t'

athar iarraidh. Eirich, a bhean, agus deasaich

bonnach do d' mhac mor,

's

e

dol

turus

fada." Dh' eirich a mhathair, agus dheasaich

i bonnach mor agus bonnach beag.

" A nis,"

ars' ise, " 'mhic, an

fhearr leat am bonnach

mor ann am feirg do mhathar airson thu

dh' fhalbh gun chead, no am bonnach beag le a, beannachd ?

"

" Dhomhsa," ars' esan, " am bonnach mor,

's gleidh am bonnach beag 's do bheannachd

dhoibhsan a roghnaicheas iad." Dh' fhalbh

e;

agus

ann

am

prioba

na

sealladh tighe 'athar.

sul,

bha e a

Chuir e sad a gach lodan agus o bharr

gach

tomain ;

bha

e

dian-astarach gun

THE SPIRIT OF ELD.

lo

" A year to-day my sister, the little Jewel of the Golden Hair, went away, and it is a

vow and a word to me that I will not take

rest nor repose day or night till I trace her out and share her fate."

" Son," quoth his father, " if thou didst

vow that, I will not hinder thee ;

but it

would have become thee, before the word

went out of thy mouth, to ask thy father's

leave.

Rise, wife, and prepare a bannock

for thy big son, and he going on a long

journey."

His mother rose, and she prepared a big

bannock and a little bannock.

" Now," quoth she, " my son, dost thou

prefer the big bannock with thy mother's

anger, because of thy going without leave,

"

or the little bannpck with her blessing ?

" For me," quoth he, " the big bannock and keep the little bannock and thy blessing

for those that choose them."

He departed,

and in the twinkling of an eye he was out

of sight of his father's house.

He

sent

splashes from

every pool, and

dust from the top of every hillock.

He was

keen journeying, without sparing of sole or

II

SPIORAD NA H-AOISE.

chaomhnadh air bonn, no eang, no ruighe,

no

feith.

Bheireadh esan air a' ghaoith

luath mhairt a bha roimhe ; ach a' ghaoth

luath

mhairt a bha

'na

dheadhaidh, cha

bheireadh i air.

Mu dheireadh bhuail acras

  • e. Suidhear air cloich ghlais a dh' itheadh

a' bhonnaich mhoir, thigeadh fitheach dubh

an fhasaich agus suidhear air sgor craige os a chionn. "Mir, mir, a mhic Ghorla- nan -trend,"

ars' am fitheach.

" Mir cha 'n fhaigh thu," arsa mac Ghorla

;

" mir no deur cha 'n

fhaigh

thu uamsa,

'bheathaich ghrainde stur-shuilich, star-

shuilich, lachduin ;

dhomh fein."

tha e beag

ni

's

leoir

'Nuair bha sud thar bearradh a chleibh,

ghluais

e

rithist

gu

siubhal

nan

eang

bheireadh esan air a' ghaoith luath mhairt

a bha roimhe, ach a' ghaoth luath mhairt a bha 'na dheadhaidh cha bheireadh i air.

Chriothnaich a' mhointeach mar a dhluthaich

e oirrethuit an druchd o'n fhraoch bha-

danach ghorm, agus theich an coileach-ruadh

do 'n chathar a b' airde.

Bha toiseach

aig

THE SPIRIT OF ELD.

n

instep, or muscle or sinew.

He would over-

take the swift March wind that was before

him, but the swift March wind that was

behind him would not catch him up.

At

last hunger struck him.

He sits on a gray

stone to eat the big bannock.

The Black

Raven of the Wilderness comes and sits on a snout of rock above his head.

" A morsel, a morsel, son of Gorla of the Flocks," quoth the Raven.

" Not a morsel shalt thou get," quoth the

son of Gorla.

" Neither bite nor sup shalt

thou get from mehideous, stare-blind, star-

blind, swarthy creature ;it is little enough for myself."

When that was over the brow of his chest

he hied forth again at bounding speed.

He

would overtake the swift wind of March that

was before him, but the swift wind of March

that was behind him would not catch him

up.

The mossy places trembled as he drew

near them, the dew fell from the bushy

purple heather, and the red grouse cock fled

to the highest bog.

The evening was begin-

ning to grow duskythe dark, black clouds

of night

were

coming, and

the tranquil

  • 12 SPIORAD NA H-AOISE.

an fheasgar air ciaradhbha neoil dhubha

dhorcha na h-oidhche a' tighinn, agus neoil

shioda sheimh an latha a' triall; na h-eoin

bheaga bhuchuUach, bhachallach, orbhuidhe

'gabhail mu thamh ann am bun nam preas

's am barraibh nan dos na h-innseagan

laoghacha lathacha,

's gach

kite

b' fhearr

a thaghadh iad ; ach ged a bha, cha robh

mac mor Ghorla-nan-treud. Chunnaic e

tigh beag soluis fada uaithe ; 's ge b' fhada

uaithe, cha b' fhada 'ga ruigheachd.

'Nuair chaidh

e

stigh, chunnaic e scan

urra choltach do dhuine mor torteil Hath,,

a' gabhail socair shasda air beinge fhada air

darna taobh an teine, agus gruagach dhreach-

mhor a' cireadh cul dualach a leadain oir, air

an taobh eile.

" Gabh a nios, oganaich," ars' an seann

duine, 's e 'g eirigh ; " 's e do bheatha.

'S

minic a thalaidh mo leus loinnreach, astaraiche

nam beann.

Gabh a nios, 's leat blaths agus

fasgadh, 's gach cobhair tha 'm bothan an

t-sleibh.

Dean suidhe ; 's ma 's miann leat,

cluinnear do sgeul." " 'S 61ach mise," arsa mac mor an aireich.

THE SPIRIT OF ELD. silken clouds of day journeying away ; the

12

little, nestling, twittering, golden-yellow birds

taking rest at the foot of the bushes and in

the tops of the thicketsin the deer-haunted

dells, and each place they chose as best ; but though they were, not so the son of Gorla

of the Flocks.

He

saw

a

little

house

of

light far from him ; and though far from

him, he was not long in reaching it.

When he went in he saw an old person,

seemingly a great gray-haired stalwart man, contentedly taking his ease on a long bench on the other side of the fire, and a comely maiden combing the luxuriant locks of her

flowing golden hair on the opposite side.

" Come ben, young fellow," quoth the Old

Man, and he rising ; " thou art welcome.

Often

has

my

bright light attracted

the

traveller of the hills.

Come in, and warmth

and shelter be thine, and every relief that is

in the mountain bothy.

Sit down, and, if it

be thy will, let thy tale be heard."

" I am a youth," said the big son of the

herd, " who is seeking service.

Thy bright

light attracted me to seek a night's wai-mth

and shelter."

  • 13 SPIORAD NA H-AOISE.

" a tha 'g iarraidh cosnaidhthalaidh do leus

loinnearach mi a dh' iarraidh blaths agus fas-

gadh na h-oidhche."

" Ma dh' fhanas tu agams'," arsa 'n seann

duine, " gu ceann bliadhfia, a bhuachailleachd

mo thri mairt mhaola odhar, gheibh thu do

dhuais, is cha bhi fath talaich."

" Cha

b' e mo

chomhairle

dha,"

arsa

nighean an fhuilt oir 's na cire airgid.

" Comhairle gu'n iarraidh," arsa mac mor

Ghorla, " cha robh meas riamh oirre.

Gabh-

aidh

mi do

thairgse,

a

dhuineann

an

camhanaich na maidne, 's mise do ghille." Roimh langan an fheidh sa' chreachann

bhleoghain gruagach an fhuilt oir 's na cire

airgid na tri mairt mhaola odhar.

" Sin iad agad a nis," ars' an seann duine

;

" gabh

mu'n cullean

iadna pill

iad

na bac iadiarraidh iad an ionaltradh fein

's leig leo imeachd mar is killfan thus'

as an deidhagus thigeadh aon ni thogras

ann ad rathad, na dealaich thusa riutha

biodh do shuil orra agus orrasan a mhain

agus a dh' aon ni g' am faic thu

;

no g' an

cluinn thu, na toir suil air.

So do dhleas-

'

THE SPIRIT OF ELD.

13

" If thou wilt stay with me," said the Old

Man, " to the end of the year, herding my

three dun polled cows, thou shalt get thy

reward, and

there will not be

complaining."

cause

for

" That were not my advice to him," quoth

the Maid of the Golden Hair and the Silver

Comb.

" Advice without asking," quoth the big

son of Gorla, " never got respect.

I will

take thine offer, man ;

in the dawn of the

morning I am thy servant."

Before the belling of the deer in the rocky

summits the Maid with the Golden Hair and

the Silver Comb milked the thi*ee dun polled

cows.

" There thou hast them now," said the

Old Man.

" Go behind them, foUbw them

do not turn them back, do not baulk them

they will seek their own pastureand let

them travel as they like.

Wait thou behind

them ; and let whatever pleases come in thy

road, do not part from them.

Be thine eye

on them, and on them alone ; and no matter

what thou seest or hearest, do not give an

eye to it.

This is thy duty :

be faithful,

  • 14 SPIORAD NA H-AOISE.

danasbi dileasearb m' fhocalbi saoith- reach, 's cha bhi do shaothair gun duals."

Dh' fhalbh e mu chul na spreidhe, agus

lean e lad.

Cha robh e ach golrid air falbh,

'nuair a chunnalc e coileach olr agus cearc

alrgld a' rulth rolmhe air a' bhlar.

Ghabh

e air an tolr ; ach ged bha lad a nls agus

a

rlthlst, air

lels,

'na ghlalc, dh' fhalrtllch

air gramachadh orra.

Phlll

e

air

als

o'n

t-slubhal fhaoln, agus ralnlg e 'n

t-alte

's

an

robh

na

trl malrt mhaola

odhar

alg

ionaltradh, agus tholslch

e

rlthlst

air

am

buachallleachd ; ach cha b' fhada bha e air

an

cul,

'nuair

chunnalc e slatag

olr agus

slatag alrgld a' cur nan

car dhlubh air an

reldhlean, agus ghrad tholslch e air an rulth.

" Cha 'if fheud e bhlth," ars' esan, " nach

lad so Is usa ghlacall no na h-eoln a mheall

ml o chlonn ghoirld." Sinear as 'nan deldh ;

ach ged bhlodh e

'gan rulth fhathasd, cha bhelreadh e orra.

Thug e 'bhuachallleachd

air ;

agus

mar

bha e leanntulnn

nam mart maola odhar,

an h-uile meas a chunnalc e rlamh, agus da-

na

chunnalc e

dolre

collie

air

robh

THE SPIRIT OF ELD.

14

trust my word ; be painstaking, and thy toil

shall not be without reward."

He went

after

the cattle, and followed

them.

He was not long gone when he saw

a golden cock and a silver hen running

before him on the plain.

He gave chase

but though they were now and again as he

thought in his grasp, he failed to hold them

fast.

He returned from the vain pursuit,

and reached the place where the three dun

polled cows were grazing, and he began again

to tend them ; but he was not long behind

them when he saw a little gold rod and a

little silver rod cutting capers on the plain,

and he immediately began the pursuit of them.

"It cannot be," quoth he, " that these are

not easier to catch than the birds that cheated

me a short while ago."

He stretched out after them ; but, though

he would be pursuing them yet, he would

not catch them.

He began herding again ;

but, as he was following the dun polled cows,

he saw a grove on which was every fruit that he had ever seen, and twelve fruits he had

not seen.

He begins to satiate himself with

  • 15 SPIORAD NA H-AOISE.

mheas-deug nach fac' e.

Toisichear air e

fein a shasuchadh leis na measaibhthug

na mairt mhaola odhar an aghaidh dhachaidh,

agus lean e iad.

Bhleoghain gruagach an

fhuilt

oir

iad,

ach

thainig ach nus glas.

mar bha :

an Thuig an seann duine

aite

bainne cha d'

" Olaich

gun fhirinn 's gun

dilseachd,"

ars' esan, " bhrist thu do ghealladh."

Thog ea shlachdan-druidheachdbuailear

an t-6ganach, 's deanar carragh cloiche dheth

a sheas tri laithean a's tri bliadhna ri

taobh an

teine ann am bothan an t-sleibh mar chliimh-

neachan air

bristeadh focail agus coimh-

cheangail fasdaidh.

'Nuair bha latha 's bliadhna eile air dol

seachad, thuirt

Ruais

ruadh, mac

meadh-

onach Ghorla,

"Tha

da latha 's da bhliadhna air

dol

seachad

o'n

a

dh' fhalbh

mo phiuthar

aillidh, agus

tha

latha

's bliadhna

o

dh'

fhalbh

mo bhrathair

m6r ;

is

boid

is

briathra dhomhsa imeachd an diugh air an

toir, agus an co'-dhiol a bhi agam."

Ceart

mar thachair

do'n

bhrathair bu

THE SPIRIT OF ELD.

15

the fruits.

The dun polled cows turned their

faces homewards, and he followed them. The Maid with the Golden Hair milked them,

but instead of good milk they gave only thin

milk. The Old Man understood how it was.

"Young man without truth and without

faithfulness," said he, " thou didst break thy

promise."

He lifted

his magic rodhe strikes the

youth and makes of him a pillar of stone,

that stood three days and three years at the

side of the fire in the mountain bothy, as

a memorial of the breaking of troth and

covenant of hiring.

When another day and year had gone by.

Red Ruais,* the middle son of Gorla, said,

" Two days and two years have gone past

since my beautiful sister went away, and it

is a day and a year since my eldest brother

went ;

it is a vow and a word to

me to

depart to-day in search of them, and to share

their fate."

Exactly as it happened to the eldest brother

in every way, so it happened to the middle

son; and he is a pillar of stone at the house

* Ruais means windbag, rhapsodist.

16

SPIORAD NA H-AOISE.

.

shine

anns gach

doigh,

mar sin

thachair

do'n mhac mheadhonach ; agus 'na charragh

cloiche tha esan an ceann tighe bothan an

t-sleibh, mar chuimhneachan air bristeadh

focail agus coimhcheangail fasdaidh.

Latha agus bliadhna 'na dheidh so, thuirt

am mac a b' oige, Caomhan donn an aigh,

" Tha nis tri laithean agus tri bliadhna o'n

a

chain

sinn

mo phiuthar

ailHdh.

fhalbh brathairean

mo

ghaoil

air

a

Dh'

toir.

Nis, athair, ma 's ceutach leatsa, ceadaich

dhomh imeachd 'nan deidh 's an co'-dhiol

a bhi agamagus na deanadh mo mhathair

mo bhacadh.

taibh mi."

Guidheam 'ur ceadna diul-

" Mo chead 's mo bheannachd tha agad,

a

Chaomhain, 's

cha

bhac

do mhathair

thu." " An deasaich mise," ars' a mhathair, " am

bonnach mor as eugmhais mo bheannachd, no am bonnach beag le durachd mo chridhe

agus deothas m' anama ?

" Do bheannachd, a mhathair, thoir thusa

dhomhsa ; agus beag no mor a thig 'na chois,

tha mise toilichtebu bhochd leam oigh-

THE SPIRIT OF ELD.

i6

end of the mountain bothy, as a reminder of

broken troth and covenant of hiring.

A day and a year after this the youngest

son. Brown Caomhan* of good fortune, said,

" There are now three days and three years

since

we

lost

my

beautiful sister.

The

brothers of my love departed to seek her.

Now, father, if it is pleasing to thee, allow me to go after them and to share their fate,

and let not my mother hinder me.

I entreat

your leavedo not refuse me."

"Thou

hast my leave and my blessing,

Caomhan, and thy mother shall not hinder

thee."

" Shall I prepare," said his mother, " the

big bannock without little bannock with

my blessing,

or the

the

goodwill of my

heart and the longing of my soul?"

"Thy blessing, O mother, give thou to me ;

and whether big or little come at its heel, I

am content.

Poor to me would be the in-

heritance of the great world and thy curse at

its foot.

On the blessing of a mother it is

not I that will pour contempt."

Brown Caomhan, son of Gorla of the

* Caomhan means the noble, kind, friendly one.

  • 17 SPIORAD NA H-AOISE.

reachd an t-saoghail mhoir 's do mhalkchd

'na lorg.

Air beannachd mathar, 's mi nach

dean tair."

Thog Caomhan donn, mac Ghorla-nan-

treud,

air ;

's mar bha

tigh

'athar

's

a

mhathar 'ga fhagail sa' cheo, bha 'chridhe Thug e gu siubhal nan eangruigear doire nan earbsuidhear fo chraoibh a dh'

Ian.

itheadh

a' bhonnaich

mhathair chaomh dha.

sin

a

dh' fhuin

a

" Mir, mir," arsa fitheach dubh an fhasaich;

" mir dhomhsa, 'Chaomhain, 's mi fann."

" Gheibh thu mir, a bheathaich bhochd,"

arsa Caomhan, " 's docha gu bheil thu ni 's

feumaiche na mi feinfoghnaidh e dhuinn le

cheiletha beannachd mathar 'na.chois."

Dh' eirich e, 's ghabh air a thurus.

Ghabh

e

fasgadh

aig

an

t-seann

duine, agus dh'

fhalbh e

a bhuachailleachd nan

tri mart

maola odhar.

Chunnaic e 'n coileach oir

's a' chearc

airgid, ach thionndaidh e air

falbh a shuilean ; lean e 'n spreidh-chunnaic

e

'n

t-slatag

oir 's an

t-slatag airgid ;

ach

chuimhnich e a ghealladh, 's cha deachaidh

e air an

toir.

Rainig e an doirechunnaic

THE SPIRIT OF ELD.

17

Flocks, "lifted on himself," and his heart was

full as the house of his father and mother

was left behind in the mist.

He set off at

bounding speed ; he reaches the wood of the

roedeer ;

he sits under a tree to eat that

bannock which his kind mother baked for

him.

" A morsel, a morsel," quoth the Black

Raven of the Wilderness.

Caomhan, and I feeble."

" A morsel for me,

" Thou shalt get a morsel, poor creature,"

said Caomhan.

needier than I.

" It is likely that thou art

It will suffice for both of us ;

the blessing of a mother is at its foot."

He rose and betook himself on his journey. He took shelter at the Old Man's, and de-

parted to herd the three dun polled cows.

He saw the golden cock and the silver, hen,

but he turned away his eyeshe followed the

cattle.

He saw the gold rod and the silver

rod, but he remembered his promise, and he

did not go in chase of them.

He reached

the grove ; he saw the fruit that was beauti-

ful and fair to the sight, but he did not

taste it.

The three dun polled cows went past the

  • 1 SPIORAD NA H-AOISE. e am meas a bha boidheach aillidh do 'n

t-sealladh ; ach cha do bhlais se e.

Ghabh na tri mairt mhaola odhar seachad